Of the sixty books John Bunyan gave to the world during his troubled life, the one most widely known after the Pilgrim,s Progress is the Holy War. Macaulay has said that if the former did not exist, the latter would be the best allegory that ever was written. It first saw the light in 1682, that is, in the interval between the appearance of the first part of the Pilgrim,s Progress in 1678, and of the second part in 1684. Unlike the story of Christian, which in the second and third editions received considerable enlargement, the Holy War remains unchanged from its first appearance. Indeed it is not at all certain that a second edition was called for during Bunyan,s lifetime. For though there is in the Bodleian a copy purporting to be a second edition, and bearing date 1684, it is difficult to resist the impression that it is a pirated copy similar to those of which Nathaniel Ponder complained so bitterly in the case of the Pilgrim,s Progress. For paper and typography are very much inferior to those of the first edition; some
of Bunyan,s most characteristic marginalia are carelessly omitted; Bunyan,s title-page—' The Holy War made by Shaddai upon Diabolus for the regaining of the Metropolis of the World,—is altered to the feebler and more commonplace form—' The Holy War made by Christ upon the Devil for the Regaining of Man;, and finally, when a new and really authorised edition appeared in 1696, all these alterations and omissions of 1684 were ignored, and an exact reprint made of the first edition of 1682.
Bunyan,s title to this second allegory of his was not altogether new, for his eminent contemporary, Thomas Fuller, had in 1639 published & History of the Holy War, which, however, was simply an account of the wars of the Crusaders, and had no allegorical significance. The conception also of his book had been in some slight degree anticipated. The comparison of Mansoul to a town and an island had been made both by Phineas Fletcher and Bichard Bernard. The Purple Island (1633) is a poem of the Spenserian school, to which Phineas Fletcher, as well as his brother Giles and his cousin John Fletcher, the dramatist, belonged, in which there is a comparison, more anatomical than poetical, between the human body and an island. This runs through five cantos out of the twelve, after which the poem rises in power and interest. The island is described as besieged by the great Dragon and his hateful crew of vices, while it is valiantly defended by the virtues and better qualities of the heart, under the leadership of Eclecta, the intellect. At one critical moment the tide of battle seems turning against Eclecta, but her passionate cry for help brings to her side the Son of God, who wounds the Dragon with his flaming brand, and in adamantine chains for ever binds him. This victory gained, the Divine Son takes Eclecta for His bride, and, glorified with His own glory, she dwells with Him in Paradise.
The allegory by Richard Bernard, Rector of Batcombe in Somerset, entitled, The Isle of Man or the Legall Proceedings in Manshire against Sinne (1627), though printed before the Purple Island, was written long after it, and was a book not unlikely to have fallen in Bunyan,s way, and to be suggestive to him. The writer tells us that in travelling through the Isle of Man he came to the 'County towne called Soule., This Soule,s-towne is a place of great resort, a thorowfare never without travellers, and has four great streets; Sense Street, Thought Street, Word Street, and Deed Street, along which that subtle pestilent thief Sin, with his Copemates, may often be found wandering. There is also a Common Inne in the place kept by Mistress Heart, who lives there with one Old Man. This Inne is a well-accustomed house, for many pests, which are Satan,s suggestions, take up their lodgings there. It has five doors, the five senses, for the guests to come in at, and these guests are wellwaited upon, for Mistress Heart hath the eleven passions for her maids, and her man Will hath at his command the feet, the hands, and the tongue, who act as hostler, tapster, and chamberlaine. The book falls into two parts; the first setting forth the search for, the attacking and imprisoning of Sin, the second narrating the trial, before the bar of Conscience and a jury of the virtues, of Old Man, Mistress Heart, Covetousness, and Idolatry. There is considerable resemblance between this second part and the trial of the Diabolonians, Atheism, Hard-heart, False-peace, No-truth, and Pitiless, described by Bunyan as taking place in Mansoul; and Bernard is almost as happy in hitting off some of his names as Bunyan himself.
But while the battle for the supremacy of Purple Island, and the search for sin and the trial of the sinners in Soule-towne, may not have been without some points of suggestiveness for the writer of the Holy War, this latter work is yet a much wider conception, is more ably sustained, and bears unmistakable signs of its writer,s unrivalled genius and power. With Bunyan this record of Mansoul,s wars, like his Pilgrim story, was no mere intellectual diversion. In a poetical Preface to the Reader he says he has somewhat else to do than with vain stories to engage men,s thoughts. He has graver work on hand, experiences to narrate, which 'some men know so well, they can with tears and joy the story tell., Not merely the broad outline, but also the lighter touches have their spiritual significance, and portray for us a deep religious experience which rises through struggle to victory, knows bitter heart-sorrows from relapse into sin, and has borne cruel treatment from an unfriendly world. The Holy War gives Bunyan,s own spiritual history in one form, as the Grace Abounding gives it in another, and the Pilgrim,s Progress in yet another. Speaking of Mansoul, he says—
'For my part I myself was in the town,
Both when ,twas set up and when pulling down:
I saw the Prince,s armed men come down
By troops, by thousands, to besiege the town:
I saw the Captains, heard the Trumpets sound,
And how his forces covered all the ground;
Yea, how they set themselves in battle 'ray
I shall remember to my dying day.'
It would not be difficult to show also that as the characters in the Pilgrim,s Progress are life-pictures from the men of everyday Bedfordshire life, so much of the external form of the Holy War took shape from the surroundings of the writer,s earlier and later days. Mansoul, with its walls, gates, strongholds, and sallyport, is not unlike to Newport Pagnell at the time it was fortified according to the Parliamentary ordinance of 1643, and when Bunyan was probably a soldier within its walls. His military memories made vivid his spiritual metaphors. It was a man who had been familiar with Cromwell,s army of the New Model who tells us that Shaddai,s Captains were very stout and rough-hewn men,—men that were fit to break the ice, and to make their way by dint of sword,—and their men were like themselves. It was a man who had seen active service who tells us how the mounts were cast up against Mansoul, how the Prince lay in league without the walls, and how the march was made up to Ear-gate with trumpets sounding, colours flying, and with shoutings for the battle. We are looking upon scenes from memory, and not upon mere pictures of the imagination, as we read how the battering-rams played against the gates, and the slings did whirl stones into the town amain; how there was fierce fight under the walls as the Captains fell on and did bravely handle their weapons, crying out and shouting as they laid on their blows. There is the smell of powder about the man who makes Diabolus say, as the trumpeters on the other side make their best music at Emanuel,s coming—' What do these madmen mean? they neither sound to boot and saddle, nor horse and away, nor a charge.,
Other parts of the book, again, took shape from the political events taking place in England in the later years of Bunyan,s life. The new-modelling of the town of Mansoul by Diabolus, setting up one and putting down another at pleasure; the changing of the Lord Mayor and the Recorder; the creation of new burgesses, aldermen, common councilmen; and the substitution of one set of bailiffs, sergeants, and constables for another, 'so that Mansoul was wholly at his beck and brought wholly to his bow,, is a simple narration of the course commenced by Charles I. in 1681 in the city of London, and subsequently extended to the rest of the municipalities of the country. The taking away of the town charter and the granting of another, which was carried to audience by the Recorder, that is, to the market-place, and there read to the townspeople, was a point in the allegory which would be readily understood by Bunyan,s contemporaries, who were familiar with this kind of thing as part of the royal policy of the time.
The central idea of the Holy War combines both that of Milton,s Paradise Lost and that of Paradise Regained—the loss and recovery of man himself. Travelling through space we come upon the famous continent of Universe, lying between the two poles and amidst the four points of the heavens. It is well watered and bravely situate, well peopled also, and its people various, some of them right and some of them wrong, even as it happeneth to be in lesser regions. In this gallant country there is a fair and delicate town, a corporation called Mansoul, a town for its building so curious, its situation so commodious and its privileges so advantageous, that there is not its equal under the whole heaven. It was built by its founder King Shaddai for His own delight, and at its setting up it is said that some of 'the gods came down, to see it and sang for joy.
It is round this town, whose citadel is the heart of man, whose walls are his bodily structure, whose gates are his five senses, whose inhabitants are his regal , faculties, his intellect, conscience, will, and affections —it is round this that the interest of the story gathers. Diabolus, the prince of Darkness, resolves to gain possession of a prize so conspicuous, and after discussing the project with his compeers, sets forth on the expedition. Mansoul is guileless and simple, and falls before his craft. Its best inhabitants are thrown into prison or thrust out of life, the noble image of Shaddai over Heart-castle is erased, and every debasing power and passion work desolation and ruin in Mansoul.
After the loss comes the regaining of this, the metropolis of the world. Shaddai,s army, led by captains of approved valour and skill, comes to the siege, but fails to succeed. They send up cry for further help, and there comes to the rescue Emanuel, invincible and irresistible. So the town is won back, and joyous entry made therein. Then comes a counterrevolution in the wake of victory. Mansoul is newmodelled once more; new officers are appointed, a new charter of privilege granted, and this further badge of honour conferred upon it that the townspeople are clad in white and glistering robes. No place like Mansoul now! It was the very signet upon Emanuel,s right hand, and there was no town, city, or corporation that could compare with it.
At this point the Holy War may be said to be at an end. The remainder of the book is concerned with two perils which beset the Christian soul in this life—that of being seduced from the right by the world,s blandishments, and that of being driven from it by the world,s persecutions. These perils encountered and overcome, Emanuel on a day appointed meets the whole people of Mansoul, and after some mutual carriages of love, tells them what He has done and what He yet will do. He has ransomed them, He will yet glorify them. Their town shall be transplanted into His own country, and there set up in such strength and glory as it never knew before. Meanwhile they are to keep white the liveries He gave them, to believe in the constancy of His love, and to hold fast till He comes again.
In this history of the Holy War we come, as we read, upon many characteristic touches and passages on which we are tempted to linger for a moment. It is curious, for example, to find Bunyan anticipating by nearly two centuries the controversy between Sir David Brewster and the Master of Trinity as to a plurality of worlds, and giving judgment for the latter as against the former.
'Count me not then with them that to amaze
The People, set them on the Stars to gaze,
Insinuating with much confidence
That each of them is now the residence
Of some brave creatures: yea, a world they will
Have in each Star, though it be past their skill
To make it manifest to any Man
That reason hath or tell his Fingers can.'
After this it is perhaps not quite consistent for Bunyan to tell us farther on that when Diabolus was taken captive, the angels 'shouted with that greatness of voice and sung with such melodious notes that they caused thenvthat dwell in the highest orbs to open their windows, put out their heads, and look down to see the cause of that glory.,
This reference to the taking captive of Diabolus suggests a comparison between this creation of Bunyan,s and that of some other writers. Professor Masson in one of his essays has instituted a comparison between the three devils of Milton, Goethe, and Luther, in which he shows that Milton,s Satan is a ruined archangel, with a certain sublime grandeur about him even in his ruins; and that Goethe,s Mephistopheles is Milton,s Satan after centuries ot wickedness, ages of practice in temptation. The ancient grandeur is gone, and he has at last become shameless, impudent, voluble, clever, the civilised spirit of evil in modern society. Luther,s devil, again, is different from both Milton,s and Goethe,s. Luther,s is not like theirs,—a merely literary creation in which they do not necessarily believe. To him the devil is a real existence, a personal enemy who exists, as we might say, with a vengeance. He is the author of all evil, the plague of human life, the sender of disease and melancholy, a being to be defied and despised, to be driven away by music or baffled with a jest. As we might expect, Bunyan,s Diabolus is the counterpart of Luther,s devil. He is a personal enemy dreadful to meet, of disdainful countenance, hideous to behold, yet Bunyan has the utmost contempt for him. He speaks of him as 'this bramble,, 'this most raving prince,, 'roving and ranging in much fury from place to place,, yet 'in ragged and beggarly guise., He tells us how he crouches and cringes in the presence of Emanuel, how, ;if he cannot keep his hold of Mansoul, he will do it all the mischief he can, rending and tearing. Then when at last he has to surrender, 'Oh! how loath was the beast to appear. How he stuck at it! How he shrunk! How he cringed! Yet out he came to the Prince!, There is here but little, indeed, of the moral grandeur of Milton,s Satan, as little, also, of the infinite cunning and cleverness of Goethe,s Mephistopheles.
As we might expect, this second allegory of Bunyan,s shows that his right hand has not forgotten its cunning in coining apt and descriptive names for the characters he brings before us. We have, for example, Mr. Loth-to-stoop, a great man in his way, and a great doer for Diabolus; old Mr. Prejudice, who keeps Ear-gate with sixty deaf men; Mr. Anything, who has both sides against him, because he is true to none; Mr. Forget-good, a sorry fellow who remembers nothing but mischief; Hard-heart, who never knew either remorse or sorrow all his life, to whom wrong-doing is music when to others it is mourning; Carnal-Security, who stood always, in his way of standing, with what he supposed to be the strongest side; old Evil-questioning, who was hanged at the top of Bad-street, just over against his own door; and Clip-promise, a notorious villain, given to abusing the king,s coin. This man was pilloried, whipped, and then hanged. It was stern treatment, 'yet those that are honest traders in Mansoul are sensible of the great abuse that one clipper of promises may do in a town in little time.,
Here and there in the book there are touches of deep spiritual insight. The inviolability of the human soul, and its power of self-determinism in the formation of character, are points to which Bunyan returns again and again. Mansoul,s walls, he tells us, 'were well built, yea, so fast and firm were they knit together, that had it not been for the townsmen themselves, they could not have been shaken or broken for ever., 'Here lay the excellent wisdom of Him that builded Mansoul, that it could not be hurt by the most mighty adverse potentate, unless the townsmen gave consent thereto., Elsewhere also we read that there was a clause in the commission of my Lord Willbewill, to the effect that nothing without him should be done in all the town of Mansoul. We feel at once the sly satire directed against the lovers of mere human authority in the Church, as we read of the three men, Tradition, Human-Wisdom, and Man,s-Invention, who had a mind to go for soldiers, and who offer their services to Shaddai. It so happened that they were captured by the devil,s forces,
and then they offer their services to him, saying that they did not so much live by religion as by the fates of fortune. Diabolus accepts their services, and they are handed over to Captain Anything.
The peril of even dallying with temptation is seen as we read that Diabolus quickly made his way into Mansoul after Captain Resistance was shot; and that Lord Innocency fell dead at the very smell of the breath of that treacherous villain, Old Ill-pause. It is not without significance, either, that we are told that the Diabolonians try so to cumber Mansoul with abundance, as that it shall be forced to make Heartcastle a warehouse instead of a garrison. 'For this is accounted the very masterpiece of hell, to wit, to choke Mansoul with the fulness of this world, and to surfeit her heart with the good things thereof.,
Some editions of the Holy War have been published without Bunyan,s marginalia. This is undoubtedly a mistake, for these form, as their author intended they should, the most reliable commentary on the text of the book—
'Nor do thou go to work without my key;
(In Mysteries men soon do lose their way)
And also turn it right if thou would'st know
My Riddle, and would'st with my heifer plow: TheMargent.
It lies there in the window. Fare thee well.'
It is from 'the margent, we learn that by the natives
of Mansoul, are meant the powers of the soul, and by
the Diabolonians, those corruptions and lusts which
are a foreign intrusion; from this also we find that by the dish after dish set before the ransomed town at their banquet, we are to understand promise after promise. In the same way we come to know that the young men of Mansoul who rang the bells for joy were 'lively and warm thoughts,; the gentry, officers, and soldiers, 'holy conceptions,; and the women and children who worked and sang all day, 'good thoughts., The forty-four battering-rams and twelve slings (query, twenty-two T) by which the army of Shaddai assailed Mansoul are explained to be 'the Holy Bible, containing 66 books,, and the lilies and flowers with which the streets were strewed when the Prince came in were 'good and joyful thoughts.,
In the margin also we have such vigorous notes of warning and exhortation as these: 'Look to it, Mansoul !, 'That,s false, Satan !, 'Mark this !, 'Say and hold to it, Mansoul!, There are other exclamations also of characteristic sort. When Captain Credence shows himself with sound of trumpet to Mansoul we read in the margin, 'Faith will not be silent when Mansoul is saved;, as the soldiers of Shaddai are defeated in a sortie and return by the sally-port, leaving three captains slain, we are told that' Satan sometimes makes saints eat their words,; Diatoms stopping the townsmen from sending petitions to Shaddai, leads to the explanation, 'Satan cannot abide prayer;, when Captain Credence, fighting with Diabolonians, sees Emanuel coming with colours flying and trumpets sounding, they are together soon trampling the slain, which calls forth this lively comment at the side, 'When the enemy is betwixt Christ and faith, then down they go to be sure !,
It only remains for us to refer briefly to the bibliography of the book before us. The first edition was well printed, and was adorned with a portrait of Bunyan and a picture of Mansoul, both by Robert White. The picture, indeed, was a portrait also, fulllength, of Bunyan himself,—the only full-length portrait we have of him. Dressed in the doublet of the period, he himself is represented as the typical Mansoul; Heart-castle is his heart, seen in transparency, the walls and gates of the town ranging round. On one side are Emanuel and His forces, on the other Diabolus in the form of a dragon, with dragons behind him, and between these two stands Bunyan himself, as representing Mansoul. This allegorical picture seems not to have been continued after the first edition. With the Holy War there took place a process, in the matter of illustration, similar to that in the case of the Pilgrim,s Progress. The book was translated into Dutch and printed by Joannes Boekholt at Amsterdam in 1685.1
1 Den Heyligen Oorlogh door Joannes Bunjan, Leeraar in Betfort. . . . Met Koopere Figuuren, 't Amsterdam. By Joannes Boekholt, Boekverkooper in de Gasper Steegh, by de Beurs, 1685. Met Privilegie voor 15 Jaren.
This edition was illustrated with a new allegorical frontispiece and six original copper-plate engravings in the best style of the Dutch art of the period, the Dutch engravers at that time taking precedence among the engravers of Europe. Copies of these, vilely executed on wood, were added to the English edition of the Holy War published in 1696, and were frequently reproduced in subsequent editions. Probably from the nature of the subject the illustrations to this work have been fewer and less varied than those to the Pilgrim,s Progress. After the Dutch engravings of 1685 nothing appeared deserving of notice till the edition illustrated by Grainger, Goldar, and others about 1780. Several engravings, not without merit, were given with an edition published at Witham in 1805 by Philip Youngman. By far the best illustrations to the work, however, which have appeared down to our own time, are those by H. 0. Selous, Priolo, and Friston.1 An edition with coloured engravings by H. Fitzcook was issued in 1864.2
It need hardly be said that the Holy War has had nothing like the circulation of the Pilgrim,s Progress, yet it has been frequently reprinted. Copies of no fewer than thirty-five different English editions issued between 1682 and 1880 are still in existence, and there may have been others which have not been preserved. Several of these editions were published in the provinces: in Edinburgh (1703), Glasgow (1752), Paisley (1777), Birmingham (1789), Witham (1805), Bungay (1806), Gainsborough (1812), and Derby (1815).
1 Cassell, Petter, and Galpin: London, Paris, and New York. a James Nisbet and Co.: London, 1864.
It has been mentioned that the work was translated into Dutch and published at Amsterdam as early as 1685; this Dutch version was licensed, indeed, in 1684, or two years after the first appearance of the book in English.* It was subsequently translated into German in 1751,1 and again in 1869 ;2 into Welsh in 1812 ;3 French, 1842 ;4 Gaelic, 1846 ;5 Oriya, 1851 ;6 Portuguese, 1870 ;7 Bengali (n.d.); Canarese, 1884 ;8 and into Turkish.9
Besides being translated into foreign languages, the Holy War has been dramatised,10 versified,11 and also
1 Der Heilige Krieg . . . Ins Hochteutsche iibersetzet von Jfohann] L[ange] Mfedicinje] C[andidato]. London, 1751, 8vo.
2 Eisleben and Leipsic: Der Christliche Verein im Nb'rdlichen Deutschland, 1869.
3 Y Rhyfel Ysbrydol . . . Caerfyrddin, 1812. 12mo.
4 La Sainte Guerre, traduite de 1'Anglais. Paris, 1842.
6 Eachdraidh fhirinneach m'un chogadh naemh, etc. Translated by J. Rose. Duneidin, 1846. 16mo.
6 The Holy War, in Oriya. Cuttack, 1851.
7 As Ouerras da famosa Ciudade de Almumana, 1870. 12mo.
8 The Holy War, in Canarese; translated from the Tamil version. Bangalore, 1884.
9 The Holy War, in Turkish, with 18 cuts.
10 The Siege of Mansoul, a Drama in five Acts. By a Lady. Bristol, 1801.
11 The Holy War . . . Versified by E. J. With an Introductory Essay by Octavius Freire Owen, M. A., F.S.A. London: Robert Hardwicke, 1859.
abridged and adapted for juvenile instruction.1 It was also parodied, the parody being meant as a protest against Catholic Emancipation, in days when this was one of the burning questions of the time.2
It may be mentioned that the present edition is a careful reproduction of the first edition of 1682, with its references and marginalia, and with only the correction of such small illiteracies as remained with Bunyan from his earlier days, and which, indeed, in some instances he corrected himself.
1 The History of the Holy War . . . Abridged and adapted for juvenile instruction. By a Lady. London, 1817. 12mo.
2 The Holy War: A Vision, in five Books. To which is added the Holy War in prose. In illustration of the Times, Characters, and Associations which marked the first quarter of the nineteenth century. By John Bunyan Redivivus. London: W. Cole, 1825.